Professor Rockström begins the lecture with a discussion of the environmental Kuznets curve, and the idea that, while local environmental conditions may improve as countries get richer, environmental impacts of industrialization are pushed across Earth system components in the entire planetary systems. Our modern thinking of sustainable development has been shaped by the three pillars of economic, environmental, and social development; this has occurred at the expense of natural and human capital. We must transition to thinking about a safe operating space within the confines of planetary boundaries, and respect the reality of absolutes in terms of resources and emissions, etc. We must strengthen Earth governance, collaboration, and management. Rockström mentions the planetary “soufflé” and gives further graphic examples of how to produce value within the confines of the Earth system, using conventional economics.
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